Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte, Republican candidates for at large seats on the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, said today that their opponent, Jim Schroeder, in his role as a Trenton insider and lobbyist, funneled $50,000 in contributions to assist the re-election campaigns of four legislators who were forced to resign in the face of Federal corruption indictments.

Former Democrat State Sens. Sharpe James and Wayne Bryant along with former Assemblymen Mims Hackett and Alfred Steele were supported by Schroeder in his job as a lobbyist for the New Jersey Education Association.

James is currently in prison; Hackett was sentenced to jail just this week; Steele has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, and Bryant is currently on trial.

?Schroeder is another Trenton insider who has played the lobbyist-legislator-campaign contributions game for years,? said Ballistreri and Aponte. ?He oversaw some $50,000 in contributions to the campaigns of these four former legislators to help them return to office and continue to support the disastrous policies of the Democrat Administration.

? In return, the people of this state suffered under bloated budgets, rising property taxes, a bankrupt transportation fund, and wasteful spending,? they said, ?including an out of control slush fund to reward political friends, allies and power brokers with millions in taxpayers money to finance pet projects.?

?Schroeder himself is on record in support of proposals to increase taxes by $6 billion by raising the state income tax on everyone making more than $30,000 a year and eliminating $1.4 billion in homestead rebates — the only property tax relief program in existence. Moreover, he wanted to end a successful state program which was instrumental in bringing business development to the state, providing for thousands of new job opportunities and tax ratables for many municipalities.?

?Schroeder,? they said, ?even went so far as to say that the multi-billion tax increases he supported was the kind of approach necessary for the state.?

?His approach to government is symptomatic of the free-spending philosophy which has created punishing tax burdens on the state?s taxpayers,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?His first reaction to any problem is to extract more and more money from the taxpayers.?

?He?s played the inside game in Trenton for years, swapping campaign contributions for favorable consideration for the policies his employer sought,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?The taxpayers of New Jersey have paid the price for his activities.?



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